Tufa and Mono Lake Sunrise, California

Tufa and Mono Lake Sunrise
Mono Lake, California   –   September 22, 2003
Canon EOS 10D   *   28-105mm   *   ISO 100   *   5 sec @ f/16

Strange shapes occupy remote Mono Lake, neslted in the shadow of California's Sierra Nevada. The photogenic "tufa towers" formed underwater when freshwater springs percolated up from the lake's bottom. When the calcium-rich springwater entered th carbonate-rich alkaline waters of Mono Lake, insoluble calcium carbonate precipitated to form limestone deposits. Over thousands of years, this process produced these columns.

In the early Twentieth Century, Los Angeles began to divert the streams that fed Mono Lake, into aqueducts to feed its growing need to water its lawns. As the grass grew, the lake level shrunk precipitously and the tufa was exposed.

Environmental destruction threatened Mono Lake until a long lawsuit finally force L.A. to curb its water diversions, and the lake level has stabilized.

See it while you still can.

Photo ID: 20030922-52